Made my family watch “Home” over the weekend. It’s a quiet documentary on the state of the Earth, with aerial shots of mountains, forests, cities, farmlands filmed by French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand. Beautiful vistas, worth a look even for just the visual treat. It has been translated into 20 languages and was released simultaneously in cinemas, on television, on DVD and on Internet in over 50 countries around the globe on June 5th 2009 the World Environment Day. The English version is narrated by Glenn Close. Watch it on youtube.
Arthus-Bertrand says on the Home Project site:
We are living in exceptional times. Scientists tell us that we have 10 years to change the way we live, avert the depletion of natural resources and the catastrophic evolution of the Earth’s climate. The stakes are high for us and our children. Everyone should take part in the effort, and HOME has been conceived to take a message of mobilization out to every human being. For this purpose, HOME needs to be free. A patron, the PPR Group, made this possible. EuropaCorp, the distributor, also pledged not to make any profit because Home is a non-profit film. HOME has been made for you : share it! And act for the planet.
I’ve seen it three times now, still has the same effect- a paring down of wants,a push for a frugal, efficient lifestyle that’s more and more local-minded but inclusive of the greater world out there. “Home” is a multimedia platform pushing a green advocacy: Our Earth is dying. It’s too late to be a pessimist. Bertrand shares on goodplanet.org:
Since 1990 I have flown over one hundred countries around the world. Extraordinary aerial views of nature and descriptive texts invite all of us to reflect upon the our planet’s evolution and its inhabitants’ future.
Can you imagine… ? In just 50 years mankind has modified Planet Earth’s environment faster than in the whole history of humanity ! As Earth’s ecosystem worsens, nature is expressing its violent anger : fresh water, oceans, forests, air, climate, arable land are all diminishing drastically.
Just today I actually did as the movie suggested and visited goodplanet.org, which is an umbrella site for all of Bertrand’s initiatives (ang dami!!!), but was frustrated that most of the content I was looking for was in French. Kept clicking away and found his main site yannarthusbertrand.org, which has more navigable content for English speakers, including downloadable wallpapers of aerial shots in 100 countries (Philippines included!).
Image shows the Village of Bacolor under a layer of mud, the island of Luzon, Philippines (14°59’ N, 120°39’ E) after the Pinatubo eruption:
In 1991 the volcano of Pinatubo, on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, began to erupt after nearly six centuries of dormancy, projecting a 66-million-cubic-foot (18-million-cubic-meter) cloud of sulfurous gas and ash to a height of 115,000 feet (35,000 m) and destroying all life within a radius of 9 miles (14 km). In the days that followed, torrential rains from a hurricane mixed with ashes scattered over several thousand kilometers, causing devastating mudflows, which engulfed whole villages. Before the cataclysmic eruption on June 15, 1991, the evacuation of 60,000 people limited casualties to 875 dead and 1 million injured. Close to 600 million inhabitants of our planet live under the threat of volcanoes, but despite their force, volcanic eruptions are not the deadliest threat to humans. In the past fifteen years, 560,000 persons perished from major natural catastrophes (120,000 in 1998 and 1999 alone); 15 percent of the deaths were due to storms, 30 percent to earthquakes, and half to floods—a natural phenomenon that has become even more devastating as a result of human intervention in the environment.
More aerial shots of the Philippines here.
Another gem I came across: an actual teaching guide for use with the film! A free, downloadable DVD includes the 90min version of the film and other tools to help “pass on the torch”:
…created for teachers and youth workers to help them decipher the movie with children and teenagers and educate them on the environmental side of the film as well as the artistic side.
The tools were conceived as guidelines for the audience to approach the film in a progressive way and educational sheets refer to key scenes of the film. Using the film as a starting point, it is therefore possible for children over 9 years old to tackle a citizen debate or study geographical, historical, philosophical, scientific, literary or musical matters in groups.
Made for free distribution all over the world, teaching aids for educators who want to use the film in the classroom are available in multiple languages in home-educ.org. A printable English PDF is also available (2.4mb), well-worth the download–exhaustive with actual lesson plan suggestions, breakdown of sequences, etc. Such an amazing and generous treasure chest of information!!
Would be great for every school (and family!) in the Philippines to have this.
More on concrete steps towards a low-impact Pinoy lifestyle later.